– The Bradley Method –
What is the Bradley Method? The Bradley Method was based on a theory by Dr. Robert Bradley. Dr. Bradley was an obstetrician, inspired by Brantley Dick-Read’s ideas that fear and tension enhances pain and that if women could relax and release muscle tension and reduce fear, there would be less pain during childbirth. Dr. Bradley teamed up with Maije and Jay Hathaway, whose birth of their fourth child, he had attended, and together they founded the “American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth® to teach the Bradley Method.®”
What do they believe? The Bradley Method supports quiet, solitude, physical comfort, relaxation, controlled deep breathing and closed eyes as tools for women in labor. The partner is taught to assist the women in maintaining a calm, steady breathing during contractions. Standard length of classes are 12 weeks long and there is a hearty emphasis on education for the expectant parents, including anatomy. Dr. Bradley strongly recommends good nutrition by following the Brewers Diet.
Is it right for me? This method teaches very good techniques to help support women through natural childbirth. One has to be very dedicated to this method to finish the 12 weeks and to take in all of the academics of the classes. The emphasis on reducing fear and muscle tension during birth, can be an important piece to birth for some. 12 weeks can be a long time to commit to classes for some and if you are not needing to have all of the academics of childbirth, this class may not be for you. Another point to consider is whether you and you partner feel that this is the best role for him/her?
Where can I find a class in my area? There are Bradley Method Childbirth Education classes available in our area. Go to bradleybirth.com to find one. These classes are often taught by a husband/wife team. If you would prefer a single teacher or different arrangement make sure to inquire before taking the class.